We examined whether strategies of reproductive allocation may reduce long-term immunocompetence through the effects of manipulated effort on secondary or acquired immunity. We tested whether increased reproductive effort leads to reduced immune function and survival by manipulating brood size in tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) and exposing breeding females to a primary and secondary exposure of sheep red blood cells to elicit a humoral immune response. Females raising enlarged broods produced fewer secondary antibodies than did females raising control or reduced broods. Most importantly, individuals with high secondary responses were more likely to survive to breed 3 years after brood manipulations, suggesting that differences in disease susceptibility may be caused by trade–offs in reproductive allocation. We also found that individual quality, measured by clutch initiation date, mediated the effects of brood manipulations, with higher–quality birds showing a greater ability to deal with increases in effort.